A new phase of relations will start between Turkey and Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, newly elected president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq told Anadolu Agency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Friday with Barzani, who has arrived in Istanbul in his first overseas visit since his inauguration on June 10.
Referring to his closed-door meeting with Erdogan, Barzani said: “I am convinced that a new phase will start in relations between [Iraq’s] Kurdish region, Turkey and Iraq. I hope my visit will contribute to improving relations.”
Barzani said that Ankara and Erbil have a historic bond of friendship.
“Turkey has helped our people in all the difficult periods,” Barzani said.
Noting that the current trade volume between Turkey and Iraq totals at around $13 billion, Barzani underlined that the two leaders also discussed the expansion of trade volume, as well as the necessary steps to achieve this target.
“We have seen that President [Erdogan] is very keen on this issue and expects Iraq to make rapid progress in increasing the trade volume,” he said, adding that they are ready “if any steps are needed to increase the volume of trade”.
Barzani also stressed on the role of KRG in the oil trade between Turkey and Iraq, saying that they are willing to increase the capacity of the existing pipeline in order to export more oil in the future.
On May 28, Barzani was elected as president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, where he had previously served as prime minister for two terms.